UPDATE (25 April 2014): It’s only been 1 month since this restaurant opened and I can’t even get a booking in on the same day now! It’s gotten so popular it’s insane!
Maximal Concepts, the group behind Fish & Meat and Blue Butcher, have brought in a new restaurant to kick the asses of Cantonese food institutions in Hong Kong (step aside, Maxim’s!). Although it doesn’t have the view of Dynasty (Renaissance Harbourview Wan Chai) or Cuisine Cuisine (in ifc Mall), Mott 32 has other things going for it that well tip the scales to its favour…
1. FOOD. The number 1 consideration for any restaurant you go to. Mott 32 serves the best of Chinese cuisine with a focus on Cantonese food. Think dim sum and Peking duck… on the same table. PERFECT. See below for details of my meal.
2. DESIGN. Antique furniture, luxurious old world China glamour, subtle lighting, tasteful touches like calligraphy brushes on the wall, urban Asian graffiti…
3. ATMOSPHERE + SERVICE. Other Chinese restaurants have that gaudy, gold and white, cramped look. Their rooms are usually filled with white round tables and lazy susans. The noise level is off the roof. Service is shouty and dismissive. None of that in Mott 32.
4. LOCATION. In the middle of the Central Business District – it doesn’t get any more convenient than that.
Alright, let’s talk about the food. I ate so much I almost burst during our food tasting, but it was so much better than I expected it I would almost say it’s the best Cantonese food I’ve ever had. Certainly the best Pork BBQ I’ve ever eaten!
It was the best, tenderest Spanish Iberico Pork, honey glazed… I never thought pork could melt in your mouth but this did. Its dim sum counterpart, the Signature Crispy Sugar Coated BBQ Spanish Teruel Pork Bun was smaller but better than any other pork bun I’ve tried in town. BBQ Pork Buns are usually fantastic wherever, but this one had zero fatty bits in it and baked to perfection.
I’m seriously getting hungry typing this up.
Then we had sio mai of Kurobuta Pork, Soft Quail Egg, topped with Black Truffle. I LOVED the quail egg, hidden whole inside the sio mai. I was in sio mai heaven.
And then came the Aged Black Vinegar Sweet & Sour Pork. This had a terrific sauce and an interesting substitution of Dragon Fruit instead of Pineapple, but the meat was too fatty. I wish I had saved the space in my stomach instead, because that was one heavy meal:
Our whole meal was a meat overload, peaking with the Apple Wood Roasted Peking Duck, done 3-way. This means they give you a plate with just the skin, then just the meat, and then another portion with both meat and skin.
After this, we had a “greener” dish of Sautéed Asparagus, Water Chestnut, and Gingko Nuts.
Finally, it was time for dessert. My second stomach made itself available for 1 traditional Cantonese sweet and 1 fusion chocolatey treat:
1. Sugar Coated Baked Custard Bun – QUALITY custard made a huge difference. And it wasn’t the usual white Chinese bun, it was a sugar coated baked bun like the first Crispy Pork BBQ one we had.
2. Green Tea Coated Chocolate Mousse – I was seriously at exploding by at this point but it was so good I could have happily eaten FIVE:
I thought this place might be just another hyped-up boringly posh place, but I was so wrong. It’s all about the food, but like some overachieving Asian child they went for the full spectrum, making the entire experience – to the smallest detail – a 5-star one. I’m definitely taking my family to dinner here next time they visit.
Standard Chartered Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong. +852 2885 8688 http://www.mott32.com/